all I need to know

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*Insert a profound quote about knowledge here.

I turned 44 years-old last week which is not remarkable in and of itself. In fact, it’s only remarkable because I no longer make my birthday an over the top 3 day long mandatory hostage situation from hell. Thankfully, this year it quietly passed like a well-dressed stranger who walks by me in a hall and whispers, “You’re old.” But I was thinking about all of the wisdom I’ve gained in my 44 years and all of the amazing tidbits I could pass on to younger folks. After all, I’m a chatty muthafucker. Certainly, I can come up with a couple thousand words of priceless advice gained in my four decades on this planet? Uh. Yeah. Turns out, I couldn’t really come up with anything.

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The more I’m around (which is a weird saying like the earth is a coffee shop that I’ve just been hanging out at for forty plus years– wait. Maybe it is?!?) the more I realize I don’t know anything. Not like anything “anything” like my brain has been wiped clean of all vital information. I still know the important stuff: my name, my address, my mother’s maiden name, all the original Charlie’s Angels chronological by appearance. But treasure troves of amassed wisdom collected through the years and just waiting to be doled out? Like I said I got nothing. Maybe I’m not wired in the “have life experiences and turn them into priceless chestnuts of knowledge” kind of way. Admittedly, the whole Life’s Little Instruction book, Chicken Soup for the Soul, Advice from Kindly Old White People isn’t really my style. I’m more of the “OMG. Something horrible happened that I probably caused but now it’s fucking hysterical and here’s why” kind of person. Besides, I actually think being in a place of “I Don’t Know” is a kind of a great thing.

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Like take this very moment in my life, for example. As I’ve mentioned, things have happened in my husband’s career that have us moving to Portland, Oregon. It’s a move I’m excited about and one with crazy timing right after my grandmother dying and a host of other weird cosmic shit that I could never come up with on my own (more from the I Don’t Know file) We were going to move in the spring. Then the location was fast tracked and we were told we were moving in January. I did all the stuff–told the day job, started collecting boxes, slowly saying goodbye to my beloved recovery family. A relocation of our lives right after the holidays while working a ton was going to be hard but I rolled up my sparkly sleeves and got busy. This was all moving along swimmingly until Thursday. Thursday afternoon we got news the move was now postponed again until March. Ugh. Intellectually, I know all of this is actually fine and I know the timing isn’t up to me and etcetera etcetera. But the I’m currently in a place of I have no clue what I’m doing or what’s going on. And this is okay.

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Not knowing the future. Not knowing when I’m moving. Not knowing the exact moves of my career and how everything will shake down until the day I die sounds a lot like faith or trusting the universe or whatever you need to call it so your spiritual panties don’t get all twisted up. Sure, if I want stuff and have goals I need to do the work. I have to show up and do a series of things (go to meetings, make phone calls, send emails I don’t want to send and ask over and over again for what I want) to help me get there. But things like how or what or when? Honeychild, that shit is not up to me.

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Getting into this glorious place of I Have No Damn Idea is actually pretty freeing. Without having my stomach twisted in knots about controlling things I can’t change (gee, I wonder where I came up with that idea?), I’m now free to focus on what I do know. What I do know is that it’s the holidays and I might as well enjoy them. I’m gonna bake and go to a holiday party and even host one of my own. I know that I’m getting paid to write a lot lately so I’ll do more that for sure. I know that I love the guy I married five years ago so I’ll hang out with him and our insane feline children as much as possible. I know there’s a ton of fantastic movies out right now so I’ll watch as many of those as I can. I know that moving and my career and even the insanely depressing political climate will all work out. Perhaps maybe not in the way I want it to or when I want it to but it’ll all come together.

Until then, I also know that there isn’t anything that a duet with Linda Ronstadt and Aaron Neville in a denim vest can’t fix.

earrings off

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In my days working nightclubs in Hollywood, back when dinosaurs roamed the Earth (Trust. Those Triassic fools knew how to partaaay!) I’d every so often witness an urban legend come to life. One night drinking and doing blow, I mean “working”, at a hip hop night in Hollywood, I saw it.  The earrings came off. Girl B, who had been pushed by girl A, was ready to explode and she handed her earrings to her friend. Suddenly, this fight moved from pushing into Friday Night Smackdown territory in about two seconds. A co-worker and I immediately  grabbed security when the earrings came off and the girls were ushered out of the club in a hair pulling, screaming tornado in less than 3 minutes.

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In the 90’s, the widely spread idea of women taking their earrings off before getting a fist fight started somewhere. Could have actually happened and spread the old-fashioned( no. not through Twitter) from one mouth to the next. Things like this Jill Scott classic certainly helped bring the idea of being so pissed off and ready to kick so much ass that you had to take your earrings off before you beat someone’s ass.

There is a practical reason for this pre-fight ritual, mind you. The idea is you take your big ass hoops out before beating a bitch down to avoid getting your ears pulled off your face. But symbolically, the idea of being angry enough to say “Oh now. I’m really pissed off. Hold these while I kick some ass” is comedic and yet in this day and age oddly appropriate. Which is to say, things recently have annoyed me enough that even though I don’t have pierced ears, to remove the earrings and punch somebody in the neck.

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This all metaphoric, mind you. I’m far too lazy and delightfully fay to ever physically harm anyone. Violence falls under one of those gross, basic things I don’t take part in. This isn’t to say, I don’t get annoyed. 2016 is undoubtedly the year all of my emotions showed up the party at the same damn time and Mr. Bitchy is one of the emotions on the guest list. I’m currently experiencing what you’d call a dull, humming annoyance. Like terrible background music at a grocery store or an itch on the bottom of your foot you can’t get to because you’re wearing boots. My feeling of agitation is not unique, I realize this. But in the interest of not ending up on a roof top of a Wal-Mart in a showdown with police, I think it’s important to let it out and take the earrings off, so to speak.

Not to minimize a subject here nor waste 500 words on something 800,000 people have already wrote about but intolerance is number one on my annoyance list. I guess you could say I’m intolerant of intolerance. Yeah I’m not 5 years old and I don’t think we’re all going to get along. But Jeez Louise (that’s right I said “Jeez Louise.” I told you I was pissed off.) do people have to fight and be racist and generally horrible online at all times of the day? Like can’t we all call out sick from that crap for like ever? Even the simple pleasures, like hashtag games on Twitter, are hijacked by crazy people talking shit about women or gays or minorities. Like hello. You’re ruining the internet. Stop it. This is all entertainment. So if you’re being preachy or bigoted or posting in all caps, you are doing it wrong. Please throw your laptop out the window and go to the library to read books until we’ve decided you’ve learned your lesson and can come back to social media.

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Not being able to tolerate intolerance is undoubtedly a good thing. It sounds ridiculous that we even have to raise our hand and say, “Hi. Just so you know, I’m not with that racist gang of homophobic, xenophobic, sexist assholes.” Yet here we are. People aren’t pinning safety pins to their sweaters, to their jackets, to their faces just to be bleeding heart liberals. They’re also doing it so we can spot one another. So we can nod accordingly at like-minded folk who don’t suck. Yet I realize the irony here. If I want tolerance, I have to practice it even among people I find intolerable. Ugh. Admittedly, that’s some level 8 spiritual ninja shit I have yet to master.

In the spirit of honesty, I will say that I am also currently also annoyed by people in denial, people who walk with their dogs without leashes, people who don’t know how to stand in line, people who don’t return a”hello” when given one, people who drive while high (#DenverProblems), dishonest people and finally, most people who aren’t my cats. Listen, I don’t want to hate humanity right now. I really don’t but they’re making it hard for me to love them, okay?

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Yet an odd shift has happened in 2016, I’ve discovered that I can be pissed off, I can be heartbroken, I can be elated but none of these emotions has to sink the ship. Back when I was drinking and using drugs, emotions were either totally numbed and stuffed down or dialed up to an eleven. There was no in between. It’s an erratic and exhausting way to live. I found myself fighting with a lot of people too. There was always a falling out with someone happening or about to happen back then. I can happily say that today, although I might not a lot of people, I’m not fighting anyone. In fact, if I am in conflict with people, I take it as a warning sign that spiritually I’m pretty fucked up.

There’s a promise in that program I do which says, “And we have ceased fighting anything or anyone-even alcohol.” I take that as serious as a heart attack. I really want that promise. In fact, I chase that shit. Sure, I can be pissed off and hate everybody (current status) but I really want to live a life free of beating someone’s ass or having a list of people I actively despise. So I end up here. Laughing at myself, telling on myself and blathering on for some 1,100 words about how bitchy I am. My day, if I’m lucky, will move along with ease, without accessories coming off or any faces having to be punched. And for right now, in November 2016, that’s pretty spectacular.